Out of all the movie adaptations of games released as of late, Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story brings a unique flavor to the gamer movie market–and that is the aspect of this film being based on real-life people and events.
As someone who has little interest in cars and racing, I have been pleasantly caught off guard by the Gran Turismo 2023 movie. The film may follow the classic ‘newbie protagonist who undergoes training to succeed in a contest while also trying to beat a rival’ trope; but I have not expected myself to thoroughly enjoy and be inspired by the whole film!
A Road Less Traveled
The plot follows Jann Mardenborough, an avid gamer who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to bring his passion of racing from the console simulation into a real racing track with real racing cars.
It seems hardly realistic, right? For one, young Jann is not from a well-off family to indulge in racing as a career. He is the son of an ex-football athlete who wants him to focus on more realistic decisions in his life—rather than gaming and racing. However, Jann knows what he wants–and his passion points towards racing ever since he was a kid.
Fortunately, Jann’s timestamps on the racing simulator are top-notch. So, when the Gran Turismo game opens up ‘GT Academy’, Jann grabs this chance to fulfill his passion of racing. GT Academy is a project proposed by Nissan marketing executive Danny Moore. Moore wants to explore the untapped potential of millions of Gran Turismo players, because according to him (and statistics), these players have clocked driving hours more than actual racers and may well be better if trained well. These players will be trained under the tutelage of a renowned ex-racer-turned chief engineer Jack Salter.
This is uncharted territory indeed. Who in their right mind would want mere gamers to drive at Mach speeds on a race track? It seems hardly plausible and highly dangerous. But Jann Mardenborough has persevered through this less traveled road of life—and has brought hope and inspiration in his success.
An Impressive Visual Ride
The movie splendidly melded the racing theme in its cinematography. I did not expect the visual treatment in the movie to be this impressive. Surely one would think, ‘Ah, it’s just cars zooming and blurry driver angles, right?’ But, no.
The CG is superb. The motion blur and intense camera actions are well-rendered especially on the thrilling racing scenes. A lot of the camera angles during the peak of Jann’s racing are immersive and pleasing to the eye for me—making me hooked and at the edge of my seat the whole time. I appreciate what the editors did to the various racing sequences. I did not expect that showcasing macroscopic car parts in between cuts would be highly interesting and can contribute to the action. Kudos!
The movie is also paced well such that I kept thinking I wanted to see more–and it did deliver. For an almost 2.5-hour-long movie, the visual experience made it seem longer for me. Plus, there were heart-wrenching scenes that any gamer with dreams will relate to.
It has been uplifting, heartwarming, and most of all, awe-inspiring. If it weren’t for this movie, I would never have known that there is a gamer-turned-racer living his passion out there. This is a movie of hope and aspiration not only for racing enthusiasts, but also for gamers everywhere.